We continue breaking-down the last 12 months for each of the Washington Capitals prospects with a review and forecast for defenseman, Alex Kannok-Leipert. (You can access all of our Capitals Prospect Reports and player analysis on our “Prospects” page right here.)
Kannok-Leipert is an 18-year-old right-handed defenseman who most recently played junior hockey for the Vancouver Giants. The 6’-0” Thai native who grew up in Regina, Saskatchewan, and was drafted by the Capitals in the sixth round (#161 overall) of the 2018 NHL entry-level draft. He is unsigned by the Capitals.
Kannok-Leipert is a gritty, physical “stay at home” type defenseman who can drop the gloves with anyone. He has played three seasons of junior hockey in the Western Hockey League (WHL), all with the Vancouver Giants. He began his junior hockey career in the 2016-17 season, playing in eight games, scoring one goal and earning two assists.
During the 2017-18 season, he played in 60 games, scored five goals and had 16 assists. His 2018-19 was similar as he played in 67 games and scored five goals and records 14 assists. His Plus/Minus in 2018-19 was +29 while the previous season where it was -1.
During the 2017-18, he played in 6 playoff games, with no goals or assists. During the 2018-19 season, he played in 22 playoff games, scoring 2 goals and having 10 assists.
2018-2019 SEASON SUMMARY
Kannok-Leipert played in 67 regular season games for the Vancouver Giants in the WHL. He had five goals and 14 assists for 19 points overall, was +29, and also had 52 penalty minutes. During the playoffs, he played in 22 playoff games, scored two goals and had 10 assists.
While he is a defensive defenseman who is relatively quiet on the offensive front, the coach trusted him on the top defensive pairing this season, which is an impressive accomplishment for a player of his age.
2018-2019 MONTH-BY-MONTH RECAP AND TREND ANALYSIS
The following month-by-month breakdown is an aggregation of our monthly prospect reports prepared during the 2018-2019 season. You can find all of our monthly prospect reports on our “Prospects” page in the top menu.
Like the other Caps draftees of 2018, Kannok-Leipert was released from Capitals training camp on September 19, in time for the start of the season for his WHL team, the Vancouver Giants , on September 21. Kannock-Leipert finished the month with a goal and three assists in 16 games played for the Vancouver Giants of the WHL. Kannok-Leipert didn’t put up an insane amount of points last season, just 21 in 60 games, but when he was 16 he led the Sasketchewan Midget Hockey League in points by a defenseman, so there could be more offense there.
Kannock-Leipert didn’t add much to his point total in November, adding just one point in 10 games. But it is important to remember he is one of the youngest players on the team yet is tasked with top-pairing duties. It’s going to be hard finding points when being so young but taking on the other team’s top players. The fact that he’s stayed on the top pair consistently means his coach trusts him, which is a great sign. Once he becomes comfortable in his defensive game then he’ll probably turn on his offensive game.
Alex Kannok-Leipert recorded a goal, five points, and a plus-3 rating in the month of December. He also racked up a lot of penalty minutes, as he recorded 46 PIMs. Kannok-Leipert recorded assists in consecutive games and a plus-6 rating in the first two games of the month. He had a minus-5 rating and was limited to only one assist in a span of four games later in December. The defenseman recently recorded a two-point outing, in which he scored a goal, and a plus-2 rating on December 28. Kannok-Leipert was in the box for at least two minutes in every game except one this past month. He recorded six penalty minutes in a 4-2 win over the Tri-City Americans on December 2 and 20 minutes in a 4-2 loss to the Victoria Royals on December 15. Kannok-Leipert recorded a shot on goal in all but one game this past month and two in a game four times over that span.
After getting held off of the scoresheet in the first two games of January, Kannok-Leipert tallied assists in back-to-back games and had an impressive+5 rating in the second game, a 7-4 win over the Kamloops Blazers on January 12. Since that game, Kannok-Leipert has been held scoreless in seven consecutive outings but has a +4 rating in that span. He had consecutive games with four shots on goal in a 5-4 overtime win over the Tri-City Americans on January 16 and a 6-4 win at the Spokane Chiefs on January 18. After that, he got called for a penalty in consecutive games. In the final four games of the month, he was relatively quiet, earning just a +1 rating and three shots, two of which came in the final game of January.
Kannock-Leipert was held off of the scoresheet in 10 of 12 games during the month of February and posted just two assists in that span. He stayed out of the penalty box in only five games, recording 24 penalty minutes in February, including nine penalty minutes in a 5-4 win over the Spokane Chiefs on February 15. He had a plus-3 rating over the course of the month. After not getting any shots on goal in the first two games of February, he recorded multiple shots on goal in four consecutive outings and had 15 shots on goal in total during the past month.
Leipert has probably been one of the quietest but best prospects the Caps have had this season. He’s purely defensive but has been on the top-pairing on the second-best team in the league all season because his coach trusts him to shut down the other teams’ top players. Although he’s not very offensive, he finished the regular season in March with three goals and one assist in nine games, adding one goal and two assists in six games in the first round of the playoffs, which his team won bringing his total for March to four goals and three assists in 15 games. Pretty impressive for a defensive defenseman.
April included more playoff games for Kannok-Leipert. In the second round of the playoffs, when the Giants swept the Victoria Royals in four games, he scored 1 goal and had 1 assist. During the third round of the playoffs in a five game series against the Spokane Chiefs, he had no goals but had 3 assists as the Giants moved on Round 4 of the playoffs; i.e. the Ed Chynoweth Cup Finals. In May, the Giants played the Prince Albert Raiders and lost in a seven game series. Kannok-Leipert scored no goals but had 2 assists.
Kannok-Leipert is eligible to return to junior hockey for the 2019-20 season, so will likely return to the Vancouver Giants next year. He should remain on the top defensive pairing. There was speculation in the local papers that he could even be appointed team captain.
Peacearch News: Dropping Gloves with Kannok-Leipert
The Province: Kinnok-Leipert Possible Future Captain
Leaderpost: Kannok-Leipert Excited about Making History at Draft
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By Diane Doyle